Biology:Sunda stink badger

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Sunda stink badger
Brehms Het Leven der Dieren Zoogdieren Orde 4 Stinkdas (Mydaus meliceps).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae
Genus: Mydaus
M. javanensis
Binomial name
Mydaus javanensis
(Desmarest, 1820)[2]
Sunda Stink Badger area.png
Sunda stink badger range

Mydaus meliceps[3]

The Sunda stink badger (Mydaus javanensis), also called the Javan stink badger, teledu, Malay stink badger, Malay badger, Indonesian stink badger and Sunda skunk, is a mammal native to Indonesia and Malaysia. Despite the common name, stink badgers are not closely related to true badgers, and are, instead, Old World relatives of the skunks.[4]


Mydaus javanensis

Sunda stink badgers have a similar body shape to badgers, but are significantly smaller, being 37 to 52 cm (15 to 20 in) in total length, and weighing from 1.3 to 3.6 kg (2.9 to 7.9 lb). Their fur is coarse, and black or very dark brown over most of the body, with a white stripe running from the top of the head to the tail. The tail is short, measuring about 3.6 cm (1.4 in), and is covered in pure white fur. The width of the stripe varies considerably between individuals, but is usually narrow, and may be discontinuous. As the name indicates, stink badgers have an anal scent gland that secretes a foul-smelling substance, which the animal can spray up to 15 cm (5.9 in). Females have six teats.[5]

Distribution and habitat

Named for the Sunda Islands, Sunda stink badgers are found in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and the northern Natuna Islands. Sunda stink badgers can be found across a wide variety of habitats, including forest edges or areas of secondary forest. Historically, they were thought to be restricted to high elevations of over 2,000 m (6,600 ft), and only rarely on lowland plains. This is now known not to be true, and more recent surveys have shown Sunda stink-badgers are often found in elevations well below 2000m.[6] Sunda stink badgers have been reported as low as 250 m (820 ft) above sea level on Java, at relatively low elevations in Sarawak.,[5] and have even been recorded at elevations as low as 10m in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplains, Sabah, Borneo at seemingly high densities.[7]

Three subspecies are recognized:[5]

  • M. j. javanensis (Sunda stink badger) - Java and Sumatra
  • M. j. lucifer (Bornean stink badger) - Borneo
  • M. j. ollula (Natuna Islands stink badger) - northern Natuna Islands

Behaviour and biology

Sunda stink badgers are omnivorous and highly nocturnal.[8] The animal portion of their diet consists of invertebrates, eggs, and carrion. At night, they root through soft soil using their snout and claws, searching for worms and ground-dwelling insects. During the day, they sleep in short burrows, less than 60 cm (24 in) in length, which they may either dig themselves or take over from other animals, such as porcupines. They have been reported to give birth to litters of two or three young.[5]


  1. Long, B.; Hon, J.; Azlan J.; Duckworth, J. W. (2008). "Mydaus javanensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  2. Desmarest, A. G. (1820). "Esp. Moufette de Java, mephitis javanensis". Mammalogie ou description des espèces des Mammifères. Paris: Agasse. p. 187. 
  3. Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, Étienne; Cuvier, Frédéric (1821). "Le télagon". Histoire naturelle des mammifères. 3 (27). Paris. pp. 1–2. 
  4. Dragoo, J. W.; Honeycutt, R. L. (1997). "Systematics of mustelid-like carnivores". Journal of Mammalogy 78 (2): 426–443. doi:10.2307/1382896. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Hwang, Y. T.; Larivière, S. (2003). "Mydaus javanensis". Mammalian Species (723): 1–3. doi:10.1644/723. 
  6. Samejima H, Meijaard E, Duckworth JW, Yasuma S, Hearn AJ, Ross J, Mohamed A, Alfred R, Bernard H, Boonratana R, Pilgrim JD, Eaton J, Belant JL, Kramer-Schadt S, Semiadi G, and Wilting A. (2016). Predicted distribution of the Sunda stink-badger Mydaus javanensis (Mammalia: Carnivora: Mephitidae) on Borneo Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 33: 61-70
  7. Evans MN., Vickers SH., Abu-Bakar MS and Goossens B. (2016). Carnivores of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, Sabah, Borneo, including a new locality for the Otter Civet Cynogale bennettii. Small Carnivore Conservation 54: 26–38
  8. Vickers SH, Evans MN, Abu Bakar MS, and Benoit Goossens B. (2017). The first recorded activity pattern for the Sunda stink-badger Mydaus javanensis (Mammalia: Carnivora: Mephitidae) using camera traps. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 65: 316–324.